Shoppers latest to ditch the plastic bag

Shoppers Drug Mart Sarnia (Photo via Google Maps)

Following in the footsteps of grocery stores and other retailers, Shoppers Drug Mart will stop offering plastic bags at its stores starting Tuesday.

Customers are encouraged to bring their own bags, but the store will also offer reusable bags in the checkout lanes.

“Our commitment to fight climate change by reducing our carbon footprint is an important part of our company’s purpose,” said Senior Vice President of Front Store and Category Management Pat Dean. “Cleaner communities make for healthier communities, and we’re pleased to do our part to reduce the amount of single-use plastic entering our natural environment.”

Canada first announced it was banning single-use plastics in the summer of 2019. Soon after, Sobey’s became the first major retailer to announce it would no longer offer them to its customers. The federal government added them as a toxic substance to the Canadian Environmental Protection Act in April 2021.

The manufacture and importing of plastic bags, stir sticks, take-out containers, and disposable cutlery went into effect last month. It will be illegal to export those products by the end of 2025, as Canada moves towards a zero-plastic waste economy by 2030.

Starting this summer, making and importing ring carriers will be illegal, and exporting them will be prohibited a year later.

Plastic straws will also be banned, although there will be exceptions for those with disabilities who rely on them.

Canada’s ban on disposable plastic products could eliminate over 1.3 million tonnes of waste and 22,000 tonnes of plastic pollution over the next decade.

While Canada is the first of its peer countries to ban single-use plastics, 170 countries have pledged to reduce them significantly by 2030. Kenya prohibited plastic bags in 2017. That same year Zimbabwe banned single-use plastic food containers.